Here’s a riddle for you. What do you get when you cross smart and sassy with gentle and loving? The answer: A Labradoodle.
What Exactly Is A Labradoodle?
A Labradoodle is a crossbred dog resulting from mating a Poodle with a Labrador Retriever. Sometimes referred to as a hybrid or “designer dog,” the breed’s beginnings date back to 1989 when a member of the Royal Guide Dog’s Association of Australia created it for a blind woman whose husband was allergic to dogs. He correctly surmised that the Poodle’s low-shedding hypoallergenic coat and the Lab’s loyalty would be the perfect guide dog for allergy sufferers.
Thanks to the Labradoodle’s cute, teddy bear appearance, the breed became wildly popular as family pets for more than just allergy sufferers. While we can assume that a Labradoodle is part Poodle and part Labrador Retriever, other breeds may be a factor due to the extent of generations from the original two breeds. This is especially true for the Australian Labradoodle whose complex lineage includes the English and American Cocker Spaniels, the Curly Coat Retriever, and the Irish Water Dog.
With that said, let’s look at some basic Labradoodle facts.
Labradoodles Need Regular Brushing And Grooming
Grooming a Labrador is easy but can be a little time-consuming. Although their coats are low to non-shedding, they need regular brushing ( once or twice a week) between professional trimming and grooming to keep their coats free of mats. A good slicker brush will do the job. Be sure to brush the entire coat including the undercarriage. Have fun with it. Brushing is a good way to bond with your dog.
Grooming should include regular trimming to keep your dog’s eyes and ears free of hair. Nails should be clipped so that they don’t grow long and painful. Try to take him to a professional groomer if possible. Otherwise, you’ll need to invest in some special tools.
A Labradoodle’s coat is dirt-resistant, so bathing should be minimal. Otherwise, you may strip his coat of natural oils. Use a mild shampoo specially formulated for dogs, and save the baths for when he’s really dirty and stinky.
Labradoodles Vary In Size And Color
In general, a Labradoodle is the result of breeding a standard-sized poodle with a Lab. They can grow up to 24 inches tall and weigh around 75 lbs. If you prefer a smaller dog, Mini Labradoodles, a hybrid of a Miniature Poodle and a Lab are available. They stand between 14 and 16 inches and weigh no more than 25 lbs.
As for colors, there is no consistency in the offspring. Poodles come in an array of colors from basics like black and white to rarer colors like apricot and silver. Expect your Labradoodle to be one of these colors or a mix. The Labrador may be black, white, yellow, or chocolate. Note that the Golden Retriever and Poodle parent will produce a Goldendoodle, which is different from the Labradoodle.
Labradoodles Love The Water
Both Poodles and Labradors are working breeds that were originally bred as water retrievers. Chances are, your Labradoodle will absolutely adore swimming. Their coats are moisture-resistant, and their feet are webbed.
But each Labradoodle has its own personality, so results may vary. There are some things you can do if your puppy is reluctant to swim. Get them accustomed to the water slowly. Start at the shallow end of a small body of water. They should know where to enter and exit the water. Don’t let them struggle or get too tired. After swimming, reward them with praise or treats. You may want to consider getting a dog life vest.
Avoid letting your Labradoodle swim in the ocean or in rivers with swift-moving currents. The tides or currents can pull them into deeper waters that they can’t manage.
Labradoodles Make Great Therapy Dogs
Labradoodles inherit their sweet personalities from their Poodle and Labrador Retriever parents. They are friendly, love people, and are calm enough to visit hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centers. They possess the ability to sense the needs of those around them.
Many Labradoodles have become great therapy dogs, and some have become service dogs for people with special needs and as guide dogs for the blind as the original breeder intended.
Labradoodles Are Smart And Highly Energetic
Like Poodles, Labradoodles are highly intelligent and easy to train. With three to four 10-minute sessions a day, your Labradoodle should be able to master basic commands quickly. If you don’t have the know-or or the time, obedience school is a good choice, and your dog will learn quickly.
Labradoodles can be calm when curled up on the sofa with you, but they are quick to jump up and play a game of fetch or take a long walk at a moment’s notice. Dogs with more Labrador in their genes will be more energetic than those with more Poodle.
Because Labradoodles are highly intelligent, they will need physical and mental stimulation to be on their best behavior. Play games like fetch and hide-and-go-seek and provide them with mentally stimulating toys such as treat puzzles.
Labradoodles Are Good For People With Allergies
Labradoodles are a good choice for allergies sufferers. Be aware though, that their coats vary with attributes that determine how allergy-friendly they actually are. A wooly coat is similar to the Poodle parent’s coat. It’s an allergy-friendly coat that requires regular grooming. A fleece coat is best for allergy sufferers. They shed less and are a little easier to maintain.
Your Labradoodle may have straight to wavy or curly hair if they inherit more genes from the Labrador than the Poodle. The coat may shed a lot or a little. This type of coat will be less allergy-friendly.
Labradoodles Hate To Be Alone
Since Labradoodles are the descendants of sporting dogs, they are happiest when they can share an activity with you. Your dog will want to follow you everywhere, maybe even to the bathroom. The key is to spend time with your pal doing the things he likes to do. Go for walks together and play games in the backyard. If you live near a lake, take him swimming.
Labrador puppies are likely to get separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time. You may notice that they get anxious when you put on your coat or pick up your car keys. Try to distract them so they don’t associate these activities with your departure.
If you have to be away from home for long periods of time during the day, consider a doggy daycare center or hire a dog sitter to come by and spend time playing with your dog and walking him.
Labradoodles Are A Great Choice For Families With Children
A well-trained Labradoodle is non-aggressive, sociable, and friendly. They love people and need to live indoors with the family, not kept outside. They truly are a member of the family. They are extremely gentle and tolerant of children. However, they may knock down younger children when they get excited, but they still adore them. Teaching your dog the “down” command will be helpful.
Like other dogs, if your Labradoodle is older, they may get testy with toddlers who like to pull their tails and ears. Due to their sweet nature, they’re more likely to snap than bite. In this case, it’s the toddler that needs the training. Teach them to be gentle with the dog.
Labradoodles Do Well With Other Dogs And Pets
With optimal training and socialization, your Labradoodle will get along well with other dogs and pets, even cats. It will be easier if all of the pets grow up together. Otherwise, if you bring a Labradoodle into a home with other animals, introduce them slowly and supervise their interactions until you’re sure they will be friendly towards each other.
If you already have a Labradoodle and want to add a pet to your household, visit a dog park regularly or a friend with a cat to socialize them with the other animals first.